Happy 100th birthday St. #JohnPaulII, champion of the poor.

"As the unequivocal words of the Gospel remind us, there is a special presence of Christ in the poor, and this requires the Church to make a preferential option for them.... Image
"This option is a testimony to the nature of God's love, to his providence and mercy; and in some way history is still filled with the seeds of the Kingdom of God which Jesus himself sowed during his earthly life....."
"...whenever he responded to those who came to him with their spiritual and material needs."

("Novo Millennio Ineunte," 2000)

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More from @JamesMartinSJ

Dec 2
Gospel: Today Jesus heals two blind men who cry out for healing (Mt. 9: 27-31). Not long ago, a blind woman told me how offensive she finds this reading, particularly since physical sight in the Gospels is so often linked to spiritual sight. She felt that... Image
...the Gospel writers had a habit of denigrating the blind and people with seeing problems in general. She was especially bothered by people talking about how "blind" Jesus's opponents were. It was a surprising comment and a perspective that I had never before considered...
...And course she's correct: the evangelists do make that link. At the same time, I said that we had to consider the economic situation of blind people in Jesus's day (and today in some poorer countries) where blindness sometimes confines a person to poverty. More importantly...
Read 6 tweets
Nov 30
Dear friends: Today is Matt Malone, SJ's final day as editor in chief of @americamag and I'd like to thank him for all his hard work for the last ten (!) years. For me, Matt's most notable accomplishments (of many) are successfully moving us from our old offices to our new... Image
ones; moving us (another kind of move) more robustly into a multi-platform media organization (we had been online and produced videos before, but now have podcasts, pilgrimages and much more); and starting the wonderful O'Hare Fellowship Program for recent college grads...
Over the last ten years, Matt dedicated himself to making America Media the best it could be. On a personal note, I'll especially miss going on pilgrimages to the Holy Land with him. Tomorrow Sam Sawyer takes over as EIC (my fifth!) so please...
Read 4 tweets
Nov 11
Since I'm getting a lot of questions about this: this morning I gave Pope Francis a copy of an icon that hung in the chapel of my Jesuit novitiate in Boston: "Christ the Lifegiver" (from Holy Transfiguration Monastery). It was the first icon I ever prayed with and I thought...
...the Holy Father might like it. That's what he's holding in his hands, as I explain its provenance. Also, to answer another question, the other priest (whose name, I'm sorry that I don't remember: I was pretty nervous) was the excellent Spanish-language translator...
... Initially, I read a summary in Spanish of the "lights and shadows" (positive and negative developments) for LGBTQ Catholics, but for the rest of the audience the translator helped us both. Thanks to all the staff (Swiss Guards, translator, etc.) in the Apostolic Palace...
Read 4 tweets
Nov 6
Gospel: Today we read a "controversy story," where the Sadducees challenge Jesus (Lk 20). There is a tendency to stereotype all the Jewish groups who opposed Jesus, which is often based on limited knowledge of Judaism of Jesus's time and can lead to anti-Semitism. One antidote... Image
...to this thinking is the work of modern-day scholars like Amy-Jill Levine, who cautions us against making sweeping statements about these groups, "the Jews" (especially in John's Gospel) or Judaism itself based on only what the Gospel writers tell us. The evangelists were...
...not especially interested in making any of these groups look good. As Prof. Levine says, "In New Testament classes, many students get a single lecture, or half a lecture, on the four major parties of Jews mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus: Pharisees, Sadducees...
Read 5 tweets
Nov 5
Why should we not listen to people who say that God is on one candidate's side and who point to "signs"? First, because it means that God is against the other side. Second, because in next Sunday's Gospel Jesus tells us explicitly not to listen to people who point to signs...
"See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he,' and 'The time has come.' Do not follow them!" (Lk 21:5-19) Jesus asks us to read the "signs of the times" but not to think that a "blood moon" is a sign that we should vote one way or another....
The deeper problem is the belief that God has blessed on candidate or another, or that one candidate is good and the other evil. Because then those who support one or another candidate are also good or evil. And if they are evil, they must be opposed, stopped and exterminated....
Read 4 tweets
Nov 4
Gospel: Today in the Parable of the Unjust Steward Jesus offers us a thoroughly disreputable man, who squanders his master's fortune, is fired, and then rewrites everyone's debts so that after he's fired, people will favor him (Lk 16). Does Jesus mean for us to act like him?... Image
Not exactly. He's what Gerhard Lohfink calls one of Jesus's "immoral heroes," whom Jesus uses to make a larger point. You can also think of the man who finds a buried treasure on *another person's* land, and rather than tell the owner, sells all he has to buy the land (Mt 13)...
The point is not slavishly following their actions (squandering money, being dishonest in business, cheating someone out of something on their land) but the deeper point, related to God's reign: being clever and resourceful in the first instance, and singlehearted in the second.
Read 4 tweets

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